Making a career move – the importance of the preparation stage

Actuarial recruiter Lesley Traverso describes the importance of clarifying your own aspirations, passions, interests and expectations, before making a move – at any stage of your career.

The beginning of a New Year always brings along a period of reflection of life, family, and career. Exam results are out in early December and with them come elation or disappointment. Some will have passed their final exam for Fellowship, others still have a long road to go. Both scenarios provide opportunities to reflect on your current employment. If there are still exams to take, consider if your employer is able to provide the right environment for you to learn and study. Do you get all that study leave promised? Are you having the right practical experience to help you understand the theory learning? If you have finished your exams, after the champagne – what next?

Even if you’re mid way through your career, the start of a New Year is still a great time for reflection.

‘Making a career move’ is not only about changing employers, it may mean making changes within your current employment situation. Whether that is a change of team, department, or role. The important factor is that you take stock of where you are, look at where you want to get to, and make sure that you are taking steps to get there.

The actuarial training provides an excellent platform for further learning. For example, if you want to move into as Data Analytics or Risk Management in the future, make sure that you discover what other skills you will need to enhance your career prospects.   For Data analytics, it is not just SQL it is now R, Python etc. For Risk Management, it is CERA.

“If there isn’t anything in your current role that can be changed, then it’s time to look outside. But, STOP! Don’t rush to Seek quite yet! Taking some time to get real clarity around your strengths and weaknesses…”

Once you have worked out what your career aspirations are, make a list of all those that are provided by your current employer, and all those that aren’t. Before you even think about applying for other roles, consider what your current employer can do to help you achieve those objectives. Consider if there are things you could have done differently in the past year to work towards your objectives. Then have a conversation with your Manager that you treat like an interview, outline your career objectives, outline what you have learnt in your role so far, what new learnings you would like to get exposure to, and see if it is possible to change some areas so that it is more closely aligned with your goals.

If there isn’t anything in your current role that can be changed, then it’s time to look outside. But, STOP! Don’t rush to Seek quite yet! Taking some time to get real clarity around your strengths and weaknesses, what you are passionate about, what you do and don’t want in a role. Many times, when I ask the question – “what type of role are you looking for” – I get the answer – “something interesting”! It is important to define what, for you, is ‘interesting’. What is, for you, a good environment. Organisations are not 100% ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it is all about a fit, a match for you as an individual. Therefore, you should do some deep self-analysis first.

Once you are clear in your mind, then you are better able to articulate when you meet someone, better able to write a clear, concise and appropriate resume, and not end up going for interviews for inappropriate roles.

Listen out for the Institute’s Careers Podcast launching in early 2018! In the first episode, Actuary Elayne Grace (the Institute’s Acting CEO) will be in conversation with Lesley on the initial planning stage of making a career move, plus lots more to come!

CPD: Actuaries Institute Members can claim two CPD points for every hour of reading articles on Actuaries Digital.


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